tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC July 7, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
about how the pilots tonight, a special edition of "world news." crash landing in san francisco. the investigation under way, right beside this runway, that burned out fuselage. the terrifying final moments. the stories from inside the jet as it crashed into the runway. >> the tail hit. >> the passengers desperate to get out, jumping from exit doors. tonight, out on san francisco bay with a survivor, describing the silence inside the cabin after the crash. then, the fire erupting, right after getting out. >> heavy emergency vehicles are responding. we have everyone on their way. tonight, the critically injured. the two young girls killed. and new details, what the pilot was asking for a second and a half before the crash. and the experts tonight on what to do, right down to where to sit. how to survive a plane crash. a special edition of "world news" begins now.
and good evening. as we come on the air tonight with a special west coast edition of "world news," as we begin here, just across the bay from san francisco's international airport. with new details tonight on the crash of asiana airlines flight 214, that we have now learn has left two people dead and, of course, others fighting for their lives. take a look at a live picture tonight. this shoechls the burned out fugue laj, as that jet still sits just beside the runway here in san francisco. it comes as new images continue capturing the plane coming in very low. and then after skidding, appearing to cart wheel, the nose up in the air. the plane catching fire. one of the survivors taking this photo as the passengers watched the plane burn. the first look inside tonight, the mangled seats crushed together, the oxygen masks
hanging down inside the fuselage. and tonight, this heartbreaking image. the parents of one of the two 16-year-old girls who died in the crash, learning of their loss back home in china. tonight, the search for answers is under way. the flight recorders have been rushed back to washington, already. they are in the ntsb lab there in d.c. and they are in good condition. 291 passengers, 16 crew, two dead. 182 injured, 52 hospitalized. we have learned tonight, eight of them in critical condition, including a child. here is where things stand right now. the investigation under way in washington, and we'll be turning to that shortly, as well. we are taking a look at the moment by moment, as this unfolded. here tonight, our team coverage from san francisco to washington, beginning with how this crisis unfolded. tonight, the aerial view of the boeing 777. the charred jumbo jet as it sits off the runway after crashing while coming in for landing at san francisco's airport. the fuselage, nothing but a giant burned-out crater now.
most of the roof gone. the nightmare began to unfold in the final seconds of asiana airlines flight 214 as it approached that runway. it was before noon, 11:27 pacific time saturday, when that flight and the pilots were on their final approach. witnesses telling us it hit the ground with tremendous force. the tail hitting first, just feet from the runway, scattering debris before coming to rest on its belly, roughly 80 feet from the runway. >> it seemed to be arriving perfectly. and then all of a sudden, it tilted up to, like, 70 degrees and it landed on its tail. it crashed with a thump, a real loud, like, smash to the concrete. >> reporter: so many who saw that crash landing echoing one another. saying the tail hit first. >> so, the tail hit. the flames came out and started to cartwheel and then it looked like -- i couldn't tell if it slid or not and then all of a sudden, it was in flames. >> reporter: tonight, a clearer portrait of the wreckage. where that tail ended up.
sheared off and sitting on the runway. 2,000 feet of debris. further back, the landing gear. and at the gunning of the runway, near the sea wall, the horizontal and vertical stabilizers ripped off the plane. so crucial to helping that jet land safely. with seconds to spare, the air traffic controllers here knew that the hundreds of passengers and crew on that jet were in trouble. >> 214 heavy, emergency vehicles are responding. >> reporter: 11:35 pacific time, just minutes after flight 214 began that final approach, it had crashed. rescue crews now racing to the runway. they arrived to find the chutes already deployed. the flight crews helping the passengers off. those passengers with life-threatening injuries, compressed spines from the sheer force of the impact. many of the passengers jumping before the chutes could even inflate. some of those chutes torn off with the impact. eyewitnesses watching it all unfold. >> oh, my god! oh, my god! we just saw a plane crash! >> reporter: police officers on the ground threw utility knives up to the plane's crew so they could cut through the seat belts
of those who remained trapped. late today, we were out on san francisco bay, the closest view yet of the wreckage, with one of the survivors, benjamin levy. you won't forget what seat you were in. >> no, i won't. 30-k. >> reporter: 30-k. very close to the emergency exit? >> the very seat next to the door. >> reporter: benjamin told me in those final seconds, it seemed as if the pilot was trying to take off again. as you were coming in over the water here in the bay, you said it felt like the pilot was trying to take off all over again? >> well, yeah. we were literally about to land. everyone was sitting in their seats. we were, like, seconds from touchdown. as we approaching touchdown, the guy put full throttle on the engine, to gain some altitude again, because he probably realized he was too low. it was too late. water start splashing everywhere. >> reporter: in fact, ben telling me there was a false sense of security afterward. passengers were actually grabbing their suitcases, their bags, because they had no idea that fire was about to break out. this passenger, his arm in a sling as he left the hospital, can't get that sound out of his mind.
>> the moment it touched the runway there was a bang, and we realized, something has gone wrong. something terrible has happened. >> reporter: silence before they all realized they were still alive. and those flight attendants, the heroes trained to get the passengers off. the first 90 seconds so crucial. this image tonight showing the billowing smoke. and as you move in, you can see the passenger windows there, the fire raging inside that cabin. all of the passengers had escaped. >> the flight attendant, she was ba basically organizing emergency exit and preparing evacuation and helping everyone. so calmly and professionally. she was helping, like, big man, twice big as her and trying to get him out of the plane and helping other people, as well. chef w she was amazing. >> we learned more about the two young victims, the 16-year-olds from china. it is believed their body dills were discovered on each side of
the plane. without question, the toll from this crash of flight 214 would have been much higher had it not been for the heroic flight attendants, as well as the first responders and the passengers helping their friends, colleagues, passenger lgs ss si beside them. more than half of those on board was injured, some of them fighting for their lives tonight. abc's cecilia vega is with me in san francisco this evening. >> reporter: many of the passengers on board flight 214 never thought they would make it out alive. >> i feel lucky. because we totally have six family members traveled on this plane and we all are safe. so i feel lucky. >> reporter: among her family members still in the hospital, her 4-year-old son, with a broken leg. for some, surviving was nothing short of a miracle. but for many others, the nightmare is only now unfolding. of the 51 people who remain hospitalized, eight cling to life, one of them, a child. their injuries?
there's just one way to describe them -- horrific. doctors at san francisco general hospital are working around the clock to save them. many passengers are still unconscious. dr. margaret knudson is chief of surgery and head of the trauma team. she says the crash injuries look like what she saw in the war zones of iraq. they were dragged by the airplane? >> we don't know for sure. we're just saying that they have the type of rash that we see if somebody were to take a body and pull it across the cement. so, i don't know where these people were when this happened. >> reporter: aviation experts say the boeing 777 may have slammed into the runway at 150 miles per hour. the impact so hard, it snapped passengers' spines. at least two are paralyzed. this picture tweeted by ntsb investigators shows a mangled and crushed plane interior. one of the patients told you she saw the row in front of her actually collapse. >> collapse on top of her. >> reporter: what does that tell you about the impact? >> well, obviously, it was a huge impact, right, for a plane to crash.
but it broke her sternum. and she's a young person. we figure it must have been the seat that did that. in fact, one of our patients actually has seat marks, you can see where the indentation was. >> reporter: the passengers sitting in the back of the plane were hurt the worst. among them? the two 16-year-old chinese girls who died. back in china, their heartbroken parents, comforted by other parents of children also on flight 214. the kids were on their way to spend the summer at a los angeles area christian camp to learn english. today, members of that church coming together for a special service. ♪ also sending prayers to everyone still fighting for survival tonight. >> so many people pulling for all of those patients. and doctors telling you it's going to be a long road ahead. a potentially tragic turn for the young victims? >> we tried to reach out to the coroner, we haven't heard back yet. the associated press reporting late this evening that the
coroner maybe be investigating whether some of the rescue workers actually ran over and killed one of those victims out there on that runway behind us. horribly sad news, if that's the case. as you mention, that doctor that we spoke to earlier, she said the victims have a long road to recovery. those in the hospital, many of them may be having more surgeries. when i asked them if they will survive, she said, i hope so. >> we all do. a fast-moving investigation in washington, trying to find out what caused this deadly accident, looking at the plane, the pilots and the flight data recorders, already in washington. abc's david kerley is already there. that part of the story tonight. >> reporter: investigators got their first daylight look at the charred wreckage of the first deadly crash of a 777. having recovered the all-important voice data and flight recorders, the national transportation safety board is already gathering clues. >> a call to initiate a go-around occurred 1.5 seconds before impact. >> reporter: the south korean
airline, asiana, has a good safety record. just as investigators were arriving on the scene, though, the airline ceo was already proclaiming the crash was not caused by a mechanical problem. "from what i know," he said, "the 777 aircraft and the engines did not have any problems." and he defended the flight crew as veterans, one with 9,000 flight hours, the other three, a combined 10,000 hours. in reality, this crash could have been caused by many factors, machine and human. there are several systems to help pilots. one, an electronic system beams information to the plane, to tell the pilot if he's on the right landing path. in san francisco, that system has been shut off since june because of construction. an alternative? a series of lights along the runway. all white, the plane is too high. all red, too low. white and red means it's the right path. an airport official says he's not sure if those lights were on. and the 777 can set its own path, using gps, which is available at this airport.
but even if none of those aides is turned on, there's the old fashioned way, in which the pilot sets the right decent, using knowledge and eyesight on a clear day. >> and perhaps they found themselves too low, too slow, as they came in over the water. maybe there was some depth perception problems, they felt they were too high when actually they were where they needed to be. >> reporter: this is only the second 777 crash in the jet's 18-year history. but the two crashes are eerily similar. both came at landing. the key information from the ntsb and the black boxes today is that seven seconds before impact, the pilots called out for more power. and just a second and a half before the crash, there was a call to go around. but it was too late and the 777 hit the sea wall. david? >> david kerley this washington tonight. and david, as you mentioned that sea wall just behind me, where you can see the burned out wreckage over my shoulder. i want to bring in abc aviation consultant john nance. he's been with me since the story broke yesterday.
john, i want you to look at these images along with our audience tonight. the first one shows the plane coming in so close to the water, even before it could make it to the runway, as you are so familiar with. that second image appearing to show the plane almost tumbling as soon as it crash lands here in san francisco. what do you glean from these two images? >> david, that first image items me they were much too low for a normal approach. 200 to 300 feet below where they should be, half a mile out there. and we don't know why. the second image, as a matter of fact, tells me that we're very lucky. if this plane continued over and completely turned over, we probably would have lost a lot of passengers before we could have got them cut out of the seat belts. it is testimony to the strength of that wing, because the wing held, otherwise, it would have snapped and the fuselage would have gone upside down. >> and john, while we have you, i wanted to ask about something we just heard from david kerley there, from inside the cockpit, just seconds before this crash landing. seven seconds before impact,
ncht. the pilot asking to increase speed. 1.5 seconds before the impact here on the runway behind me, he said he wanted another go-around. what does that tell you? >> there's a big puzzle here, david. they had to know they were low and slow at that point, they were probably 20, 30 knots below where they should have been. they were picking on the airplane. this is going to be one of the focal points of the investigation. why did they wait so long to get more power and get out of there? >> all right, our aviation consultant, john nance. we appreciate your insight, as always. still much more ahead on this special west coast edition of "world news" this sunday night. coming up here, surviving a plane crash. in fact, you have a much better chance than you think. if you know what to do in those crucial seconds. the exit strategy, right down to the seat you're sitting in, coming up here. and later tonight from san francisco, the heroes. the flight crew, getting passengers off that plane before the fire erupts. mine was earned in djibouti, africa. 2004.
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survive a crash. and you can increase those odds if you have an exit strategy in those crucial moments for you and your family. here tonight, abc's david wright. >> reporter: this 727 is about to crash -- on purpose. seconds before impact -- >> jumpers away! jumpers away! >> reporter: the pilots abandon ship, leaving crash test dummies, cameras and computers to record what happens next. it's a science experiment conducted by the discovery channel, to measure the survivability of a plane crash. one conclusion? bracing for impact, like they show on the safety card, actually works. >> i suspect this one may have a concussion, that one may have a broken leg. >> reporter: minimizing the chance you'll get knocked out, or worse. another conclusion? passengers at the rear of the aircraft are generally safer, especially in a nose dive crash like this one. the crash here at sfo was slightly unusual, in that the plane appeared to belly flop, tail first.
the two passengers who died were seated near the back. statistics show that the chance of dying on a scheduled flight here in the u.s. is 1 in 14 million. >> riding on a commercial airplane has got about the same amount of risk as riding on an escalator. >> reporter: the danger, not just from the impact itself. smoke and fire start fast, as we saw here in san francisco. within 90 seconds. this simulator used to train flight crews shows how finding an exit can be tricky. but it's essential to get out fast. >> if you can't instantly determine the source and severity of the smoke, you must consider it to be a threat to the airplane. >> reporter: according to the national transportation safety board, 76% of passengers survive even the most serious crashes. the faa's advice? sit within five rows of an exit. make a mental note of the exits. sit on the aisle. and don't sleep during takeoff and landing. you know, i asked the m.i.t.
safety expert if there's a particular seat he requests, he said, in general, go for the aisle seat, close to the exit. >> a lot of people are going to be asking for one of those seats tonight. david wright, thank you. when we come back here, the other breaking story of the night, the disaster just north of the border. and breaking news tonight involving the wife of our secretary of state. why let constipation weigh you down? as soon as you feel it, try miralax. it works differently than other laxatives. it draws water into your colon to unblock your system naturally. don't wait to feel great. miralax. take the miralax pledge to feel better sooner. get a reward like a beauty treatment, a dance class or a $5 gift card with purchase of a specially marked pack. go to miralax.com for details.
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hospitalized. she was rushed by ambulance to a hospital on nantucket, then transferred to a hospital in massachusetts. no details on the issue of her illness. she is 74, a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed and treated in 2009. she's the heiress to the heinz ketchup fortune. so many still missing at the scene of that shouldering ruins of a train that derailed on its way to maine from canada. five bodies have been recovered. 40 people still unaccounted for. the fire was set off by an unmanned runaway train, hauling tankers of crude oil. some of the cars exploding in the center of a canadian town right near the u.s. border. nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated. and an emotional day in arizona, as a funeral procession was being held for the 19 firefighters killed last week in that wildfire. the white hearses carrying the elite hot shot firefighters through the town where they died and finally to prescott, where they all lived and grew up. they died after getting trapped by a wall of flames. many waved american flags today in their honor. when we come back here on the broadcast, so many here from
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over my shoulder here, we thought it would be fitting to end with a tribute to the heroes here. amid the debris, there were so many signs of quick thinking that saved so many lives. >> it is nothing short of a miracle that we had literally 123 people walk away from this. >> reporter: those chutes deployed from the jet. the flight crew springing into action to save the passengers before emergency personnel could even arrive there on the runway. >> when we had arrived on scene, the chutes had already been deploy and we observed multiple numbers of people coming down the chutes and actually walking to their safety. >> reporter: it was angelina andrighetto, a passenger on board that flight, that captured this video of the aftermath. the blurry aim images, but you can see the fire department personnel right there, helping the passengers. angelina herself sending this video to reassure her family, awaiting word. there were so many people here in the bay area who had no idea they would be helping out, too. >> we did run out -- a little bit short of blood at one time, but thanks to the blood bank in san francisco, we were able to
catch up and to get what we needed. >> passengers also deserve a lot of credit. from what i'm hearing, there wasn't this mad rush. i think people were literally trying to help each other. >> reporter: so many people here in san francisco, reaching out to help. the rescue crews, that flight crew. the blood donors. and a worker at the airport, holding this little boy's hand. so many people to applaud. i was out on the bay today with a survivor, a father, who was flying back and take a look at this. he purchased two toy fire trucks for his boys, having no idea he'd truly be thanking those firefighters in tend. he told me he won't tell his boys what happened here in san francisco until years from now. i'll see you first thing in the morning for "good morning america." until then, have a good evening. good night.
>> next at 6:00, breaking newsment on the toe crash. we'll talk to a man who watched from yards away as the flight crash-landed. >> we'll tell you what evidence investigators have zeroed in on. >> what youd in to know about delays or cancellations if your loved one will be flying in or out of sfo. abc7 news at 6:00 starts now. >> oh, my god. it's an accident. >> filming it. >> oh, my god. >> oh, my god. >> watch closely. a new look at the actual moment of impact when flight 214 crash-lands at sfo and then practically cart wheels down the runway before settling in a cloud of dust some smoke.
>> wreckage still lines the runway as investigators try to piece together what happened. >> we're in for ama daetz tonight. major developments in the crash at sfo. >> the ntsb has been on the scene less than 24 hours and the investigators are releasing a wealth of information on what went wrong before the flight crashed. >> a third runway opened late today at sfo so now three of the four runways are operating which should help russ flight delays. >> reports phloem san francisco fire chief that a rescue truck racing to help victims may have accidentally one over a teenager involved in the crash. >> we have live team coverage. reporter: ntsb investigators have two hours worth of cockpit voice recordings to work with leading up to the crash. and 24 hours of the flight